Tennis player, Novak Djokovic will be playing in the Australian Open after he was exempted from vaccination rules. According to BBC News, it is mandatory for all players and staff at the tournament to be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.
However, the 34-year-old has not yet gone public about his vaccination status, but observers are certain that Djokovic recently tested positive for COVID-19, which allows him to postpone taking the vaccine.
The process of getting an exemption is run independently of Tennis Australia and involves two different medical panels from government health authorities, reports Daily Mail. There has to be an ‘acute major medical condition’ in the individual.
Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.
I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022! pic.twitter.com/e688iSO2d4
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 4, 2022
There are a small number of other players who successfully applied for permissions who are already in Australia, but Novak is the main focus of what currently is a contentious issue. Melbourne has been the most locked-down city globally, but currently faces increasing cases of the Omicron variant.
89 – 90% of tennis players are now vaccinated and not all of them are excited to share a locker room with someone who did not want to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Australian Open tournament begins on January 17 and the ATP revealed that 95 out of the top 100 men’s players have been vaccinated. Government health authorities also looked at these applications and do not know who submitted them.
If an exemption is accepted as valid, the medical exemption will be submitted to the Australian Immunisation Register and the player’s identity will be known, however, Novak raised his anonymity flag in this case.
Organisers are claiming that the defending champion was not been given special treatment, but the decision has sparked an outcry among the Australian public as some still cannot travel interstate or globally.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons